Another day, another Deaf character is played by someone hearing
There is a new prop in the movie industry!
Lo and behold... DEAFNESS!
What a great prop it is. A superb commodity that will bring you: a bunch of extremely basic jokes, the possibility to overlook d/Deaf talent, an opportunity to let the media spread wrong information about d/Deaf people, the ability to rob d/Deaf people of their own story. Overall, it will allow you, wonderfully privileged people, to perpetuate oppression, ableism, and keep the status quo.
Another day, another Deaf character played by a hearing actor/actress.
The latest culprit is the movie Medeas, where Catalina Sandino Moreno will play a Deaf character. The article is riddled with all the usual problems - use of the word mute, the obsession with words, the obsession with music but also quietness... The video interview by the newspaper (without subtitles, obviously, so I made subtitles on Amara) ends up not even bothering with Deaf. She's playing "a mute".
La Famille Bélier: my critique of the movie
“La Famille Bélier” is presented as a drama comedy. I’ll start with that: I didn’t cry. I didn’t laugh. I did get a tiny lump in my throat for about ten seconds, and I chuckled a couple of times. That much is true.
I can’t tell if anyone cried in the room, but there wasn’t much laughter either. Nonetheless, the movie is already a success, with nearly 700,000 viewers (Fr) in a week.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s chat about the movie itself. In my initial article about La Famille Bélier, I argued about the issues that surround the movie. In part 2, I offered more data for my analysis. Here, I’ll be giving information about what happens in the movie, which means: spoiler alert. I’m not sure how accurate that is, though, because we all know the premise of the movie kind of gives it away from the start.
La Famille Bélier: how not to do a movie with Deaf characters
This article’s aim is to offer more of an in-depth analysis on the issues surrounding the movie “La Famille Bélier”, following my first article. If you would like to read my review of the movie itself, you can go there.
Following my first article a few days ago, I went to see “La Famille Bélier”. In the meantime, new articles (besides the ones that were already up when I wrote mine) started popping up about the movie and criticising it for the same reasons I did.
On the other hand, an overwhelming amount of articles praised the movie, either unaware of the context or brushing it off partially or entirely. Rebecca Atkinson’s article for The Guardian has even been commented on as being “French bashing”, and several consider she is being severe and harsh. Articles in French: TF1, Le Figaro, 20minutes, Actu-mag or Premiere.fr for examples of articles that picked up on her critique. I quite like how many newspapers managed to make an article out of thin air by simply quoting from Rebecca Atkinson’s and adding a couple of sentences to the effect of “the British are being mean to us, boohoo”.
La Famille Bélier: Deaf People on screen?
For the past couple of days, I've had several debates over Facebook regarding a French movie that has just gone out.
The movie is called "La Famille Bélier" aka in English "The Ram Family". No, they're not a bunch of rams roaming about in a farm (though they do live in a farm... I've just realised what they did there), it's just their last name. Apparently it's supposed to make it sound like they are strong-willed and stuff. Or something like that…
I will go watch this movie, seeing as I'm in France for the holidays. The movie is branded as a box office success, which they want to surpass "Les Intouchables" ("The Untouchables"). By the way, what these have in common is that, you know, the bloke in "The Untouchables" was in a wheelchair, in this movie the parents in the family are Deaf, so we have one big category of movies. "What's better than a movie about the disabled to surpass a movie about the disabled." Sorry, sarcasm off for a minute.